One of the writers in a group I am in just made national news with a political article.
He has also been called names that I’m not going to repeat in polite company. People have called his place of work. After reading some of the comments he received, I felt the need to take a shower.
Oh, and that’s the kid glove treatment he gets as a white guy.
When The Guardian commissioned research into 70 million comments left on its website, it turned out that out of the 10 most abused writers, 8 were women and 2 were Black men.
In other words, sharing your thoughts online is scary for everyone, and it’s even scarier for those who make up the global majority.
That’s enough to make anyone withdraw under a blanket and never hit the publish button again.
Here’s why you shouldn't stop to share your writing online:
- Sharing your writing online is good for you: it can help you build your audience and business.
- It's also good for us when you share your writing online: we need to hear your voice. You have a unique perspective on the world and we want to hear it.
- You don’t have to write about topics that are highly controversial if you don’t want to. Writers typically don’t get death threats over self-help articles.
- If you want to write about something that puts you at risk of online abuse, you can always write under a pen name.
- Even if a topic is controversial, by writing with nuance and complexity, you can both improve the article and reduce the likelihood of online abuse.
- If you publish on a platform you can control (such as your own blog or Medium), you can always delete an article, along with all the nasty comments.
- Speaking of comments, you can hide comments on Medium or completely disable them on your own blog.
- By joining a writer’s group, you can get support from other people who know what it’s like to put themselves out there.
When people feel fear, they often fall into all-or-nothing thinking: either I go all out by writing the most inflammatory article I can think of or I never blog again.
However, there is a medium between those extremes.
Sharing your writing online can bring you so many benefits, from self-expression to financial rewards (for instance, when more people find out about your work).
Don’t let the worst-case scenario stop you from enjoying these!
What are your fears about sharing your writing online? Leave me a comment below!
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